PADUCAH BANK will celebrate 60 years of continuous operation in Paducah, Kentucky this year. To celebrate that milestone, the bank hosted “The Summer of 60 Concert” featuring the Swingin’ Medallions.
“The concert was a lively, entertaining way for us to celebrate our 60 years in this great community,” commented Wally Bateman, President of Paducah Bank. “I first saw this band back in the 70s and really enjoyed the energy they brought to the stage and the history they have themselves. When we were brainstorming on ways to share our anniversary with our customers and the community, they came to mind since they do a lot of songs from the 60s. It was actually in 1964 that the original members of the band had a number one hit: Double Shot of My Baby’s Love.
The Swingin’ Medallions band, a 44-year tradition, was founded in 1962 by John McElrath and now includes his two sons. Featuring the ever-popular horn section, the group effectively blends the sounds and music of yesterday and today. Their diverse repertoire has made them overwhelming favorites with college audiences as well as the more mature rock and rollers.
“Over the years, the band has become known as the party band of the south,” Bateman added. “In the early 60s this band was one of the first to incorporate the sounds of black musicians into their musical arrangements. This unique sound eventually led them to play on college campuses and at party venues all over the south.”
The group was founded by John McElrath and Joe Morris in Greenwood, South Carolina. It was McElrath’s rare ability to play bass on the keyboard in addition to the melody that eventually led to the band’s national recognition. This talent allowed the band to produce bass from keyboards rather than employing a bass guitarist. They could have an eight-man band and still have five on brass. It also made John McElrath part of the band’s legend.
In 1966, the recording of Double Shot of My Baby’s Love sent the Swingin’ Medallions to the top of the charts. A world tour followed, capped by a command performance by old blue eyes, Frank Sinatra, when he heard they were in L.A. and #1 on the local charts. His daughter, Tina, had a sweet 16 birthday party planned and Sinatra surprised her with the Swingin’ Medallions as the entertainment.
“Being able to stay around for more than 40 years without really veering away from their original sound is an accomplishment few bands can match,” Bateman said. “We thought it was a perfect representation of Paducah Bank’s ability to be a locally-owned, community bank for 60 years in an industry rife with mergers, acquisitions and sell-outs. We were very excited to bring the high-energy sound of the Swingin’ Medallions to Paducah for everyone to enjoy this summer.”